Patna, Nov 26 The Bihar government Monday ordered a probe into allegations of corruption in the state's rural jobs scheme in the wake of a performance audit report by a Delhi-based NGO revealing "an open loot of taxpayers' money".
BiharTimes was first to carry this story on 24th which was blacked out even on 25th which surprised everyone." Failed to understand why this story was totally ignored by local media" said Parshuram Rai who coordinated this study.
Surprisingly, when the probe was ordered by the state government a couple of newspapers of Bihar made it front-page story on Monday. Thus, the newspapers of the state adopted more loyal than the king attitude.
State Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra Monday said the government would conduct the physical verification of beneficiaries and areas covered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
"We have ordered a physical verification of all the facts related to the scheme," Mishra said here.
Two days ago, Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) said the performance audit of MGNREGS in Bihar found that 73 percent of the Rs.8,189 crore scheme fund, spent in the state's 38 districts in six years (2006-12), were embezzled by the implementing authorities.
"There is an open loot of taxpayers' money. There is plunder of rural poor's right to guaranteed wage employment for 100 days and there is pillage of every single norm of democratic governance and public accountability," the CEFS report said.
It added: "The scale and dimensions of MNREGS corruption in Bihar suggest that this kind of open loot is impossible without active connivance of the block and district authorities."
Parshuram Rai, founder director of CEFS, said the audit was done over nine to 10 months, covering 2,500 households in the state. The amount siphoned off, CEFS said, is nearly Rs.6,000 crore.
Mishra assured that strict action would be taken against officials found involved in irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.
MNREGS aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.